- Greeley Citizen, 12 Jul 1923
Lives Saved by
Mrs. George Gillham who is in an Ord [NE] hospital is
recovering nicely from the effects of a Cesarean operation to which she submitted last
week. Her baby, a son, also is getting along well. For two or three days Mrs.
Gillham's condition was critical and it was feared she could not recover. She
expects to be able to return home next week.
- Greeley Citizen, 12 Jul 1923
Mr. and Mrs. Will Harrahill, Mrs. Joe Welsh and Mrs. George McGowan
returned from a trip to Perkins county this week. They report crops in that part of
the state looking promising at present.
- Obituary from Greeley Citizen, 21 Sept 1939
Mother of Mrs Harris is Dead
Mrs. Ignatius Bixenman, mother of Mrs. C. A. Harris of Greeley, died at a hospital in
Hammond, Ind., Saturday afternoon. She was 79 years old. Funeral services were held
Tuesday morning. Mrs. Bixenman visited in Greeley about a year ago. Before moving to
Hammond 17 years ago, the family made their home in Grand Island. Mr. Bixenman died in
April, 1938. Mrs. Bixenman is survived by 14 children. Mrs. Harris accompanied Al and John
Bixenman and Mrs. Kate Leslie of Grand Island to Hammond to attend the funeral services.
Mrs Ignatius Bixenman(n) was Bertha Hepp, sister to Anton Hepp. Anton and
Ignatius were early settlers in Greeley Co. Both men were immigrants to the US from
Germany and had settled in Indiana before coming to Nebraska. Harris is Charles A. who
married Ida B Bixenman(n) [Ida B. Bixenmann]
June 23, 1910-Feb 8, 1993
Gertrude I. Schoonover, 82, Southwest City route
1, died at 1:30 a.m. Feb 8, at Gravette (Ark.) Medical Center after a short illness.
Mrs. Schoonover was born June 23, 1910, in the state
of Nebraska. She moved to Southwest City 45 years ago from Nebraska. She had
owned and operated the Little Cafe in Southwest City for several years. She was a
member of the Southwest City United Methodist Church and was active in the Southwest City
Her husband, Guy Schoonover, died
Dec. 29, 1970.
Survivors include a son, Jackie Schoonover,
Jacksonville, Fla.; a daughter, Lorraine McDonald, Aurora; two brothers, Dean Crumrine,
Vancouver, Wash., and Max Crumrine, Longview, Wash.; four sisters, Elizabeth Gillespie,
Lincoln, Neb., Lorraine Eynetich, Grafton, Neb., Harriette Todd, Omak, Wash., and Orvetta
Shamp, Ord., Neb.; six grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Services were at 10 a.m. Feb. 11 at Southwest City
United Methodist Church. The Rev. Doris Schlessman officiated and burial was in
Southwest City Cemetery.
Pallbearers were Martin Nichols, Everett Holly, Glen
Adams, Lawrence Tompkins, John Browser and Coy Garrett.
Note: Gertrude Crumrine was born in Greeley Co, NE, to Addison Enos and Eva Agnes Hepp
Crumrine. She married Guy Schoonover of Greeley Co in 1928.
Source: Memorial Card from the Ozark Funeral Home, Southwest City, MO.
Max & Nadine L. Tatro Crumrine, July 17, 1990
Note: Max Crumrine is the son of Addison Enos and Eva Agnes Hepp Crumrine of Greeley, NE.
He was born 9 Apr 1916 in Greeley Co, NE, and died 2 Feb 2000, in Longview, Cowlitz Co,
Other names: Nadine Lorraine Tatro (b. 28 May 1924 Clay Center, NE), Loran Crumrine,
Phyllis Crumrine, Jerry Crumrine, Stephanie Crumrine, Diane Crumrine Cearley.
- Ethel Whalen Rother Family
Her determination 'Successful'
by Gerry Himes
Wolbach-Dogged determination and a dependence on others helped Ethel Rother
of Wolbach achieve a 10-year-old goal this summer.
The 52-year-old grandmother was presented a bachelor of arts degree in
education Aug. 3 at Kearney State College.
Not shown on her college records, however, were the 18 children she was
rearing or the fact her hsuband (sic) was critically ill and died during this
Mrs. Rother, not one to make much of her achievement, said in an
interview at her Wolbach home, "I had help from everybody."
"Otherwise, I could not have done it," she added.
Her quest for a degree and proper teaching credentials goes back to
1963 when she began driving the 80-mile one-way trip evenings.
Mrs. Rother had taught school prior to this, but aside from evening
classes at St. Paul and Grand Island through the University of Nebraska extension service,
had no formal training.
"I began teaching in 1938 but quit after three years to get
married," she said.
The Rothers put their land in the soil bank at the time and Mr. Rother
babysat while she taught. "We had 11 children at the time."
After a day in the classroom she and the family would do the chores at
their farm five miles east of Wolbach. The most difficult period of time, Mrs.
Rother says, is when her husband contracted what is termed "Lou Gherig's
disease," in 1969. He died in November of 1971.
During the time he was hospitalized at Fullerton, she would teach all
day at Sacred Heart School at Greeley, leave for Kearney at 5 p.m. for class, get home at
11 p.m. and then go to the hospital to stay with her sick spouse.
"I never was involved in an accident or had car trouble," she
Other than the cost (they spend $200-$300 every 2 weeks for food)
the problems of such a large family have been few," Mrs. Rother said.
"When one of the kids hired out for a job, he was usually paid
three times more than he was worth." There are 12 boys and six girls and six of
the children are still at home.
"And there was a lot of passing down of clothes,:she continued.
The faculty and fellow classmates at Kearney also were a big help she
said. "I was like a fixture there and they were always asking about the
"That really makes your day."
She said she could always depend on her neighbors. "When you
have 18 children you live in a glass house, most anything can happen."
"You never know what to expect and have to depend on
everybody," she concluded. (view
family photo) [shown in photo: Ethel Whalen Rother & children: Betty
Rother, Mary Rother, Donna Rother, Bob Rother, Stan Rother, Rollie Rother, Mike Rother,
Cheryl Rother, Minnie Rother, Ed Rother, Doug Rother, Sandy Rother, Charles Rother, Tom
Rother, John Rother, Ted Rother, Patti Rother, Henry Rother]
Source: Grand Island Independent, August 16, 1973. transcribed by Shirley Gillispie
Lowe Fox, aka Mrs. John R. Fox
Wolbach's oldest citizen looks back on life across 93 years with fond memories
The Good Life
by Jan Ware
WOLBACH-Sir Francis Bacon wrote 400 years ago, "Knowledge is power."
Just as powerful today as it was then, Mrs. Jessie Fox
of Wolbach fights to make the power of education felt. Mrs. Fox taught school for 21
years and was librarian at Wolbach for 15 years.
Recently retired from her position as town librarian, Mrs. Fox twinkles
Born near Red Oak, Iowa, she came west with her family in a covered
wagon when her brother was only 11 days old. They homesteaded five miles northeast
Life on the farm was hard for the pioneer family but it gave her many
pleasant memories, too.
"We had a lot of better times than most. We used to invite
friends in to dance," Mrs. Fox recalled. "We had a piano and there was
always someone who could play."
Mrs. Fox described her mother as a civic-minded woman. It was she
who instilled in her daughters the value of work, the art of living and the reward of fun.
"We girls were taught to work. We didn't wear silks and
satins, but we had what other kids had," she said. "My dad bought a livery
barn, when folks traveled by horses, and we moved into town.
"I remember the drought years and the prairie fires," she
recalled. But, you know in all my years on the plains, I never once saw an
In 1907, Mrs. Fox graduated from the Peru Normal College. She
began her teaching career in a rural Greeley County school.
"I loved working with children. Being the oldest of a large
family is perhaps part of that," she said. "I always helped Mom with the
children in our family."
The oldest of 16 children, Mrs. Fox was able to count among her
students two of her brothers. They were very clearly instructed not to slip and call
their sister, Jessie, in front of the other pupils.
Mrs. Fox attested to the continuing need for rural schools.
"They help bring the community together for programs," she
said. "Yes, I think rural schools have their place. I'm glad I had the
pleasure of teaching in rural schools. It's an education in itself," the former
After her marriage to John R. Fox, she dropped out of
the teaching field but her education continued.
"All my life, I've taken part in musical plays. I've never
quit doing that. A good friend, a musician in church, got me interested in
performing," Mrs. Fox said.
Mention of that friend brought up another point.
"I enjoy the young and old. I've never confined myself to my
own age group."
And that is a blessing. It would be a shame to miss the sparking
creativeness of this 92-year-old educator.
The Foxes were parents to one son, John G. He died of the same
disease that took her husband, Mrs. Fox said.
After the death of her husband, Mrs. Fox returned to teaching.
"When I first started teaching, I was in a sod school house.
When I went back to teaching, in 1954, I began again at that same school
district," Mrs. Fox said. When she renewed her career, Mrs. Fox lived at the
During those years when she was away from her vocation, Mrs. Fox noted
many changes in teaching methods but was glad to see that same eagerness for knowledge.
"Many things came up within teaching lines," she explained.
"In the early days, it was strictly the three R's (reading, writing, and
arithmetic). I had learned to teach through games and using board work.
"When I went back (to teaching), the students seemed just as
anxious to learn."
Just as her students were and inspiration to this dedicated educator,
she placed her faith and hope in each of them in return.
"I always tried to give them the inspiration of getting out and
seeing things, to try to make them realize the importance of an education," she said.
"I always hoped each of them would graduate from a state university, I believe
in getting all the education you can. Of course, a person can learn a lot on his
At this summer's Wolbach Days celebration, Mrs. Fox was recognized as
being the oldest woman in Wolbach. She will be 93 in December and she's still the
"Oh, I think you could ask just about anybody in town. Not
too many would have something bad to say about me," she quipped.
Reflecting on a full and varied life Mrs. Fox said, "Oftentimes I
thought I'd like to write a book about my life and my friends. I've enjoyed it.
Sure, we've had our ups and downs.
"But to me, life has been wonderful. I never believed too
much in looking on the dark side. I love music, dancing and flowers.
"I came from a large family and we grew up loving those things
because my mother was that way. I think my brothers and sisters could say the same
thing." (view photo)
Source: Grand Island Independent, September 11, 1976. transcribed by Shirley
- Miss Ida Foster (b. 19 March 1891, d. June 1987)
Strong Emphasis on the 3 R's
by Jan Ware
GREELEY- Miss Ida Foster's long and rewarding 50-year tenure in education spanned two
world wars, the Depression and saw the advent of the hot lunch program in the schools.
When Miss Foster left the office of Greeley County superintendent
of schools in June 1960, consolidation of many of the small rural districts had begun.
Now 86 years old, Miss Foster began her teaching careeer in 1915 after
graduating from St. Joseph's Academy at O'Connor. For 20 years she taught English,
algebra, geometry and hisory to grade and high school students. For five of the 20
years she taught in rural schools and half of that time she instructed the lower grades.
Miss Foster said the educational emphasis then was on preparation for
the county exams that were given to eighth grade students enrolled in rural school
districts who intended to enter high school.
As might be expected, Miss Foster was and is dedicated to basic skills
of reading, writing and arithmetic. And her former students appreciate now the
tenacity with which she instructed.
"Students write back to me and thank me for what I've done,"
Miss Foster said. "Among my students I've had doctors and lawyers and hundred
of good, everyday people who are the back bone of this country."
"One of the most famous of my students was a man who became
chancelllor of the University of Pennsylvania. He writes to me still."
During her 20-year tenure in the classroom, Miss Foster said her
favorite subject to instruct was English, with an emphasis on literature and composition.
"I particularly liked history," the native of Greeley County
And it's no wonder. Born and raised in Greeley County, Miss
Foster was the first child in her pioneer family of nine to be born in a frame house.
Miss Foster's family were some of the early settlers in the Greeley Center area.
In 1877, her grandfather homesteaded northwest of Greeley. He walked from
Grand Island to stake his claim. The rest of the Foster family came in 1879 from
Pennsylvania. Miss Foster said her father and mother were married at O'Connor.
In the fall of 1930, Miss Foster was elected to the county office of
school superintendent, She served in that position for 30 years until June 1960.
When she was 69, Miss Foster thought the time was right to step out of
the shoes of the county superintendent.
"I had wanted to retire and the voters kept electing me year after
year," Miss Foster explained. "When the voters show that kind of
confidence, you don't want to let them down.
"But I was 69 and it was time to get out."
As county superintendent, Miss Foster was responsible for visiting each
of the 67 rural school districts with three town schools and three Catholic schools
included. She also administered the eighth grade county examinations and continuing
education testing for teachers.
Miss Foster recalled some of the events of the times.
"Before 1934, enrollment was very large in the rural schools.
Families lived on every quarter section of land. But the drought and war drove
many families away.
"There was a general decline in population. The advent of
big machinery is what finished it out. One person could farm more land."
Miss Foster said she left office before school reorganization and
consolidation was completed. The 67 rural school districts she administered have
dwindled to three still in operation.
Miss Foster mentioned other changes that have occurred since she left
the professional education field.
"Schools have changed a lot more since 1960. The new math
hadn't come in then and sports hadn't taken over as much. There was more interest in
reading, writing and arithmetic."
Although her immersion in education spanned both field and
administrative work, Miss Foster admitted a preference for the direct pupil contact she
enjoued during her years as a classroom teacher.
"In my heart, I liked teaching more. I missed the pupil
contact," the retired educator said. "As county superintendent I was
dealing with students but they weren't 'my' kids." (view photo)
Source: "Ida Foster," Grand Island Independent, about 1977. transcribed
by Shirley Gillespie Moore.
- Greeley County History, second printing, by Edith Swain McDermott
May Get 2nd Printing
by Jan Ware
GREELEY-In 1939, Edith Swain McDermott published a book that is now in
such short supply the Greeley County Historical Society is considering
republishing the 174-page tome.
Mrs. Swain is the first girl child born in Greeley Center. She
compiled and published the first and only printed history of the county. At the
time, only 300 copies were printed. The first 100 copies were distributed to all
rural and town schools. The others were offered to the general public for $3 each.
Since then, the original school copies have disappeared through the
years, families have misplaced the books and library copies no longer are available.
In short, the book has become a scarce item.
Mrs. L.J. (Cora) Esch, president of the Greeley County Historical
Society, said the society would take advance orders at $5 each for the reprinted history
until Oct. 15. If by that time there are enough prior orders and persons indicate
interest in the project, she said the historical society would finance reprinting of the
"She did the county a great favor by publishing that history.
To keep the history of our county in print is the point of every historical society.
That's the only one we have except for Ida's (Foster) scrapbook," Mrs. Esch
Miss Foster, 86-year old retired Greeley County superintendent of
schools, explained, "A law was made in Nebraska that students had to study county
history. Well, there was no history for Geeley Couty so Edith decided she'd write
"She drove all over the county gathering information from
interviews. I would vouch for the facts in that book. Edith wored in the
courthouse and she looked up dates and facts."
As county superintendent, Miss Foster made sure each shool board
purchased a copy for student use.
Mrs. McDermott, who still resides in Greeley, dedicated her book to
pioneer women of the county. "Those women who left large homes in the east to
live in a sod house; the women who came, when sent for, to nurse the sick, dress the
babies and comfort the dying; that angel of mercy in every community," the dedication
read in part.
Mrs. Esch explained, "Edith realized pioneer life was an awfully
hard life that affected women more than men."
In her book, Mrs. McDermott traced the county's early beginnings from
the first settlement as an Irish Catholic colony. Many of the firs core settlers
were Pennsylvania coal miners who came to Greely County to excape labor troubles.
The first settlers came around 1874 with the bulk of the colony
settling in 1880-1881. The center of the colony was at O'Conner, which was first
located just south of Greeley. The Irish Catholic Association purchased 25,000 acres
of railroad land, which was sold to settlers for $1.25 per acre.
The persons who gathered to help recount the life and times of Geeley
County estimate that 40-50 per cent of the people who live in the county are descendants
of the original settlers.
"I think it's wonderful to be able to live in a community and say
my great-grandfather and grandfather are buried here," Mrs. Esch commented.
"That's what you call roots."
Source: "Greeley County History," Grand Island Independent, about 1977.
transcribed by Shirley Gillespie Moore.